Move Past Judgment and Find Truth

Jumping to conclusions is a human pass time. We all do it, and it’s pretty easy to get there fast. I learned to do it at a very young age, and have spent the last five years reducing that reaction to an occasional slip up.

I see so many people around me doing it for sport like there’s no tomorrow. In my younger years I thought it was just how people were supposed to act — it was what I saw everyone else doing. Now I just see right to the heart of what these judgments really reveal — insecurity.

Jumping to conclusions means that you are referring back to old patterns of thinking, ingrained ways that feel safe and comfortable. Opening up your mind to think of things in a new way, moving past your “training”, assumptions and learned behaviors, is a stretch that many feel is too uncomfortable. So they don’t change at all. As the years roll by, these people often notice the worst always happens, BECAUSE they expect it too. How is there room for anything else but your worst fears when you cannot admit your insecurities and fears show up as judgments about others?

Yes, this is a big step. Taking ownership of your own insecurities is not comfortable, fun or glamorous. But it’s damn freeing. You just need to be willing to read between the lines to see what is really going on.

Practice, Patience and Reality

I experienced this close-minded thinking earlier this week. I received an email from someone that set off some alarm bells in my head, and I got a bit huffy. I immediately started painting a picture of this person in my mind (we don’t know each other well yet), and thought I had her figured out. She was a combination of my crappy old bosses, yucky clients and general bossy personality traits I dislike. It really pushed my buttons.

When I took a while to respond and she caught me by phone, those “stories” faded away.

This woman was under pressure to meet a deadline, and her regular writer was too busy. She was calm, forth-coming and very agreeable to the project terms I suggested, and I decided to move ahead with the work. In fact, she was nothing like the person I created in my head at all.

When old emotions surface, objectivity goes out the window. We usually end up making it about the other person, but it’s really an opportunity to see between the lines — on both sides of the coin.

I was able to see the reality of the situation by listening and reading between the lines. As she talked more about her situation, I sensed she dislikes being under the gun because she takes pride in being organized and ahead of schedule. She was also feeling a bit frustrated about having to look around for a dependable resource at the last minute, and was concerned about how poorly written content might impact her project if she was unable to get help.

By paying attention to all the subtleties of the situation, I was able to get over myself, help her out of a jam and earn some extra scratch. Overall a win-win, once I was willing to look at all angles of the situation. I was able to really see what I was creating…all in my own mind.

Are there times when you have done the same to a friend or someone you barely know? I’d like to hear about your experience.